Ok, what tools do I need to carry onboard whilst out for a ride on a vintage vespa? can't be much do to space though.

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Hi Antony. I will prepare an illustrated list and post it later. It will easily fit in your glove box with plenty of room left for gloves and wet gear.

Hi David can you send me the list also is there a specific tool to unscrew the foot plate to gain access to the battery is or what size screw driver size?

Hi Andrew. I own a classic scooter so not sure about working on automatics. Bob is your man. However Google will usually get want you want. I found these in minutes. Just click on the links.

Video tutorial on removing battery:


All sorts of video tutorials on modern Vespa here:


Forum thread:


I carry.

spare plugs, globes and cables.

oil and measure cup.

a rag or two, some people carry rubber gloves so they dont get oil and dirt on thier manicured hands.

a plug socket and ratchet.

a small socket set, you'll figure out soon enough what sizes you will use most. a couple of ring spanners too.

pliers, a flat and phillips head screw driver, a small shifter, some cable ties, vice grips. some spare cable anchors 

you can go a bit overboard and carry puncture kits, first aid kit and all sorts of tools, but I think the above should be minimum, in my experience anyway, to get you going enough to get home.

ALWAYS take your mobile phone. and I generally have a small container with a few bucks in it too.

I have all my tools inside a rolled up material shopping bag, if you leave them loose they rattle around and damage the paint. I have plenty of room in my left hand side cowl, more so now I got rid of the battery, so I still have plenty of room.

Hope that helps.

I'm sure David's advice will be excellent and in so much more detail, and he has had many years of riding and problems on the road to draw from.

I'd definitely need a trailer without it :)


Oh and that groove I sent you a picture of is meant to be there.

Sounds like the toolkit I took to Sydney. It was gross overkill for modern Vespas but probably a good idea for those loveable oldies.

RACV breakdown telephone number

cheers Mike

That's the spirit

Thats the way ..I just Luv that optimism that has yet to be tempered with life's experience but then Im talking from a Lambretta owners world view.

cheers Mike

Toolkit Notes for Classic Vespas

Brett's toolkit description is spot on and I don't have much to add. The original Vespa tool kit only had about 5 items in it and was sufficient to fix most breakdowns. Although my current kit is more comprehensive, it still only takes up a small space within my glove box leaving plenty of room for gloves, wet riding gear and a litre bottle of two stroke oil. Now please don't think that because you now own a classic that you'll be constantly breaking down. It only seems to happen when you're not carrying any tools or spares. I've been to some very remote parts in the bush pre-mobile phone days and have always been able to get going again. So its a great feeling that a good set of tools and a few spares will get you out of trouble on these old machines whereas with a modern scooter you may simply be left to scratch your head.

Below is a picture of my toolkit. From left to right and top to bottom:

• A couple of cable trunnions. These cheap gismos clamp onto the gear cables near the end and allow it to pull on the gear changing mechanism. They can also be used for the clutch cable end as well.

• Complete set of cable inners, preferably pre-greased. Rear break cable, front brake cable, two gear cables, clutch cable and throttle cable. I keep mine in a plastic box away from moisture. The two gear cables are the ones which are the most likely to break because of the hard work they do and the fact they go right through the frame making some tight bends here and there.

• A plastic 2% 2T oil mixing cup. Keep it in a sealed sandwich bag. You don't have to think when using this. Fill up the oil to the 5 litre mark, pour it into your fuel tank and put 5 litres of petrol in it.

• Miniature "Supatool" ratchet socket set with 8mm, 10mm, 11mm, 13mm sockets with extender rod and universal joint. I love this tool. The universal joint makes it really easy to take off the air filter cover and remove the entire carburetor as sometimes you need to unblock a jet. Some of our scooters have got 40 or more years of muck floating around in our fuel tanks. A blocked starter or idle jet is easy to clean and can be accessed beneath the air filter. Carry a single strand of copper wire from a 240 volt electrical flex to clean out a blocked jet.

• Spare spark plug. You may wish to use a cooler plug for long country runs, and a hotter plug around the city. If you motor is not running well, check the colour of your plug. 

• T shaped box spanner. This original Vespa tool is the most widely used. You can get them from GPS Imports for about $7. Allows you to remove the spark plug, change a wheel, split wheel rims, tighten front and rear brake cable clamps. You can even take off the cylinder head with it. Its two handle lengths give you roughly the right amount of torque for the size of bolt. Hint, when installing a spark plug, screw it in finger tight then use this tool to tighten it another quarter turn. Do not over tighten plugs as you can strip the aluminum thread in the cylinder head - let the plug's compression ring do its job.

• A sharp tool to scrape away carbon deposits from your spark plug.

• Pointy nosed pliers help you fit new cables in tight spots like the headlight assembly.

• Small 8mm-10mm open spanners for taking up slack on the adjustors at the end of all cables.

• Flat sided and Phillips screw drivers. If its an original old machine, you won't need the Phillips.

• A decent 14mm ring spanner to hold the rear bolt of the brake cable clamps.

• A good quality shifter just in case.

• 1 litre of high quality synthetic 2 stroke oil.

• Towel or rags.

Other things:

If I still had points ignition, I would include a bit of fine emery paper to clean the contacts, and maybe a set of feeler gauges to set the gap. Now I have CDI ignition, I carry a spare unit - a cheap Vietnamese job. I also pack a flywheel puller in case I have to fiddle with ignition timing and since having a breakdown in QLD, I now carry a spare stator plate.

I carry a spare inner tube, a small bicycle pump, tyre levers, repair patches and glue.

A short length of electrical wire is useful if you need to patch up a wiring problem. Also some bailing wire to tie on bits that fall off. I've occasionally used it to keep my exhaust pipe on when a bolt fell out. If I was going around Australia, I'd throw in a torque wrench and a spare tyre.

A tool often called "the third or fourth hand" is great for attaching new cables. The tool pulls the cable taunt and locks it in place leaving you hands free to tighten up the cable trunnion. I've attached a picture of it at the bottom. It can be brought online and through bicycle shops.

In my early days of riding when I didn't have any money, I managed to get home okay when various cables broke. You can get under way without a clutch if you run along side your classic, drop it into first and jump on. You can even change gears without a clutch if you take it slow and match the engine revs to your road speed. Its just a bit clunky. My throttle cable broke once. I opened my engine cowl slightly and pulled the remaining piece of cable through the gap. I then tied it to my spare tyre behind my leg shield. A deft shift of my lower leg allowed me to speed up and slow down. Now I'm a cable guy.

David, great post, I actually have a third hand tool, but have never used it and don't carry it.

There is also a couple of things I hadn't thought of, this is the best part of sharing stuff like this. Cheers.

Tony, you may not need to carry some of this stuff but like David said, if you don't have it, you will need it.

That's pretty much what I used to carry in the 160GS - except for the new fangled sockets and ratchet. The only other things I can think of are: 

1) a ring spanner for the flywheel/fan (to get at the points),

2) a pair of circlip pliers for the JC clip that retained the flywheel nut.

3) feeler gauges and points file for the spark plug and points,

4) some wet and dry emery paper to clean the points.

3 and 4 are mentioned above, but I carried them.


There was always a good collection of old spark plugs and broken cables in the glovebox.


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